Additional $60 million needed for Stage 2 LRT
Ottawa city councillors are being asked to approve another $60 million for the city’s Stage 2 LRT project, as a completion date for the project remains uncertain.
A report to the city’s finance and economic development committee asks for $35 million to be added to the project’s utility budget, and another $25 million to its contingency fund.
The funds would cover changes that weren’t envisioned when council approved the $4.6-billion project in 2019.
“During the course of design and construction, a number of improvements were added to the project scope that were not originally contemplated when establishing the project agreement and specifications,” the report says.
The additional $60 million would be funded by development charge debt, water rate reserves and transit debt.
The increases fall under two main categories.
The first is the $35 million for the utility budget, which covers things like hydro and gas main relocations.
The second is $25 million more for the LRT’s contingency fund.
The initial Stage 2 project included a contingency fund of $152.5 million, about 3.3 per cent of the project’s budget. Such a fund is built-in to provide for unforeseen costs and changes to a project.
However, the project has spent $132 million of that money so far, and staff say the remaining $18 million will not be enough to cover it.
“With consideration that the originally contemplated contingency fund was intended to be allocated throughout the entire project lifecycle through to completion, the remaining amount of approximately $18 million will be insufficient to deal with expected remaining pressures,” the staff report says.
"Additional funding requirements will be assessed again in 2023."
The city’s finance and economic development committee will vote on the matter at its June 28 meeting.
Stage 2 LRT is the largest infrastructure project in the city’s history and it’s unclear when it will be completely finished.
The Trillium Line to Riverside South is now due to be finished in May 2023, nine months later than originally scheduled.
The eastern line to Trim Road is scheduled to be complete in 2024. Tracks are being laid on the route.
But the city said in April that labour and supply chain issues were putting pressure on finishing the western extension by its scheduled completion date of 2025.